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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

.Fundamorphosis - A Review.

I am a Baptist Pastor's wife.

And I just finished reading the book Fundamorphosis: How I Left Fundamentalism But Didn't Lose My Faith by Robb Ryerse.

I have been intrigued and anxious to read Robb's journey for some time, and for a number of reasons. One being that I thought it would be exciting to read a book written by someone that I actually know. Robb and I grew up in the same church (The very fundamentalist church he writes some of his childhood memories from, and the very same church in which my husband is now a pastor at - yes, you read that correctly). We went to the same small Christian school. We attended the same Bible camp (the Bible camp that my husband and I would go on to work at for the first 6 years of our marriage), and we even attended the same Bible college, although Robb is yeeeears older than me {hahahaha}. I understand his background. I understand his fundie roots. I understand his struggle.

Because it is mine.

We all have a story to tell, and I believe in some way it is part of the Ultimate story. Many times our stories collide and weave with each other's. Robb's collided with mine. I have always been interested in people's stories, and this book did not disappoint me. It is Robb's story. It is personal and intimate. It is candid and honest. It is brave. I was so impressed with the gracious tone in which Robb wrote his book. He could have come at it with a completely different angle. An angle of bitterness or superiority, or an air of know-it-all-ness and judgement, but he didn't. He was gracious with his roots. He was gracious with the fundamentalist churches he grew up in, and yet he was authentic and transparent in telling why he had to move away from what he had known. I also really appreciated the way in which Robb shared his journey, because it truly was just a telling of his story. I never felt pressured to come to the same conclusions that he has come to. I never felt like he was trying to sway all fundamentalists to leave their churches and join his kind of church or that he was slamming fundamentalists. The book was written in a mature, loving, respectful and gracious way.

Having said all of that, Fundamorphosis was also written in a way that did make me think and reevaluate things that I have grown up being taught. Robb's story made me wrestle even more with my story. Ever since returning home from Africa two years ago, I have begun to understand that there is something missing in many of our churches and in our lives as Jesus followers. I have grown weary of the judgmentalism, the legalism, and the lack of love and grace. I have been frustrated with titles and boxes. I look at the Jesus of the Bible, realizing we are supposed to mimic him, and feel as if we are sorely missing the mark in so many areas - including in our churches. In our fundamentalist churches we continue to be so concerned about the exterior and the masks and and our consumeristic way of "doing" church, that I feel we are missing out on what we could be in Jesus. I feel as if we are sitting in our cushy pews waiting for people to flock to us, when Jesus was the first to engage His culture and flock to them and love on them. Sadly I see much the opposite of this.

I don't want to play church anymore. I am tired of it.

So I went into this book with a lot of this on my heart already.

From reading the book, I got the impression that Robb had also felt many of those things. It would have been easy for him to have become jaded and dismiss church altogether, but I so appreciated the emphasis that Robb does place on church and community. It was very encouraging and hope-filled to read how a church could really be a loving, non-judgmental, authentic community. It was refreshing to know that a church - that Jesus followers- can function from a heart of love not a spirit of fear. Fundamorphosis is motivating. It makes me want to do, to actually get out there in my community and culture and live a transparent life - not a perfect life - but hopefully a life that does point to Jesus. I want to be crazy enough to actually do the things that Jesus talks about in the Bible. I really enjoyed reading Robb's views on moving from just orthodoxy to the importance of orthopraxy. It is something that I have felt for a long time.

I do not want to give a verbatim review of this book, but would rather you get a hold of a copy and read it. It is a detailed account of Robb's journey to better understand and make personal his faith. While I may or may not have come to all of the same conclusions that Robb has come to, his story has left me pondering my own story. It is a captivating and compelling book. If you are struggling to own your beliefs, if you are tired of Christian mediocrity, are wrestling with the organized church, or are just curious about Robb's journey, I invite you to read this book.

Whether one is for or against the Emergent movement, I think any follower of Jesus should be on a journey of morphing to be more and more like Jesus - our faith should not be static and stagnant - and after reading this book, I believe that is exactly what Robb is suggesting.

I invite you to purchase a copy here.

{I was not in any way compensated for this review. This review entirely reflects my own thoughts and opinions.}

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